Throwing in the towel????

Stella's Plea

It’s been a very busy summer and sadly, I haven’t written much of anything. There was so much to do, and between work and home, I found very little time for myself. My blog suffered, and so did my stories. I must admit the thought of throwing in the towel crossed my mind several times.

Think about it, why push this when I can’t find the time to write? It was fun while it lasted, but oh well, life goes on, right?

I mean, between working a full-time job, house cleaning (I thank God for the help and support my wonderful husband gives me!), meal preparations, laundry, groceries, and the like, when does anyone find the time to write? Hey, and I love to read too and need time for that as well!

I read something in Genreality one day last spring. People were talking about not having time to write, as they were too busy. Someone posted a comment that stayed with me. She said and I paraphrase:

It’s not the amount of hours that count, but each and every minute. You may not think you have 3-4 hours to write, but if you add up all those spare minutes, such as the 25-minute commute on the bus to work; 15 minutes for your break, times 2; 30-45 minutes
at lunch time; the hour after supper before the kids lessons’ and bath; etc. . . these all add up to precious hours. Now multiply that by 5 days in the course of a week, you have yourself a good amount of writing put in. These minutes all added up to precious hours you thought you didn’t have. If you’re really serious about writing, start adding every minute you have, and make them count.

I’ve often thought about throwing in the towel. Not only because of a tight constraint on my time, but also because that’s all my mind stays focused on. Part of me says if I can’t do only that, I don’t want to do it at all. Another part says, take advantage of every available minute you get in the run of a day and do what you love to do. Use every minute to the best of your ability.

WRITE!

Another reason I can’t throw in the towel is because God has put amazing people in my path and I’d be a total fool to pass up the opportunity He’s given me.

Recently, I downloaded a book to my Kindle by Lee Carey. I enjoyed it so much, I searched for more of his books. Lo and behold, there were many, but when I attempted to download the second book (which happened to be the sequel to the first one), it said that it wasn’t available in this area!?!?! Huh?? I emailed Lee Carey and asked if/when it would be available in Canada. He thanked me for alerting him of the problem as it should have been available. But he did more than that. He emailed me the file to download to my eReader.

Thus began an email friendship between two authors, one published and the other, aspiring.

I read 2 of his YA books, “If Bullfrog Had Wings, and Out of the Rough”, and I’m now
reading a 3rd,. Gabby,All About Me, (for ALL pet lovers) a beautiful story about an author and the dog he rescues from a pound. I now have 9 of Lee’s writings and so far, I’ve enjoyed what I read.

In one of these exchanged emails, I mentioned a site called Page 99, where one can
paste just one page, of their manuscript, page 99, and those who read it, tell them whether they’d read the full novel, and why or why not. Lee posted a comment and he told me he’d like to read it. Of course, who’d say no when a published author asks to read their story??? Besides, he’d just sent me a free copy of his book, so I did likewise, and waited. Nervously, I might add.

One of the first replies I received after that had a few comments/suggestions, typos and/or grammatical errors, all of which I was tremendously happy to receive. But that wasn’t the reason I sent it to him. Besides, doesn’t editing while reading take away from the story???

Lee is still sending me suggestions and grammatical corrections of some kind which I more than appreciate. I am French, and there are some English expressions I don’t use correctly so it’s always nice when someone points them out to me. My favourite used to be “She released the call” when referring to the someone hanging up the phone. I always liked that expression and thought that I used it correctly. Please note that the phone was just a plain telephone she used at home, not a massive switchboard with several lines which one could find in offices. Now that you know that, was it still acceptable to use that expression? Not really. The first person who critiqued my story got tired of reading those words and one day, grinning (and through clenched teeth), told me that if she read that again, she’d scream. It’s things like this that I need someone to point out to me.

Whether or not I win the publishing contest, I’m still coming out a winner. Writing “Stella’s Plea” has been an amazing journey on which I’ve met wonderful authors – published and aspiring, online and face to face. So as said above, I’d be a total fool to
throw in the towel. I can’t give up now because I worked too hard to get the story where it is now.

In conclusion, I need to address all of you aspiring authors out there. Please remember this:

There’s good in all criticism, even the stuff we feel is bad criticism. But we have to learn to accept both with humility. If people tell us only the good and not the areas needing work in our stories, how in the world will we ever know to correct it? Accepting all criticism simply makes us better writers.

Thanks, Lee Carey and EVERYONE else (Stella MacLean, Norah Wilson, Lina Gardiner, and several other writers from the writing groups I belong to),  who helped in so many ways – big and small. I wouldn’t be where I am with my writing if you hadn’t pointed it out. I appreciate each and every comment – good AND bad.  And for that, I am forever indebted to you.

Thanks also to Delle Jacobs, for the beautiful book cover.

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10 thoughts on “Throwing in the towel????

  1. First of all, Renee, I thank you for the kind words about my writings and my assistance on your novel. You’ve said what many writers deal with on a daily basis, and finding quality time to pen a novel is difficult. However, if one’s desire is strong, there’s the will…and the way will become clear. I think you’ve got a winner with ‘Stella’s Plea’…so, keep at it and enjoy your creation. Oh, and keep smilin’….your friend at the beach, Lee

    • Thanks for the comment Lee

      I always appreciate what you have to say. And i hope that, through this blog, others will be able to enjoy your books as much as I do. 🙂

      Blessings

      Renee-Ann

  2. What a lovely blog, Renee-Ann. And and incredibly important message. We all have those moments as writers. (For those of you who haven’t yet, it’ll come.) And sometimes they recur. But if you’re meant to stay on this journey, you’ll get back to it, whatever calls you away, and however long you’re gone. Good luck with the contest!
    Oh, and thanks for the shoutout! Writer friends ae critical supports. I don’t know where I’d be without mine. 🙂

    • Thanks Norah

      I’ve always wanted to “have my cake AND eat it too”. One of the two was never enough. Though I have patience (honest I do!), it’s very short. So until “my turn comes”, I’ll work full time and write on the side. But I will do this. Thanks to all the help I’ve had from you people, I will do this. 🙂

      Blessings

      Renee-Ann

  3. Hi Renee, I was spending a few miinutes surfing blog hop links and hit yours. Your post struck a chord with me. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it to struggle to find time for writing among all the rest of life’s responsibilities, but in my heart I know it’s worth it because this is what I’m meant to do.

    • Thanks for your comment Jennie

      the funny thing is, each time we take advantage of all these short moments to the best of our abilities, though it may not seem like a lot, when we look at all we managed to write in such a short time, we can say, “wow, I wrote more than I expected. I guess it’s like anything else. If we really want to do something, we will find the time to do it.

      I don’t mean to quote an old saying but there’s a lot of truth in this:

      When there’s a will, there’s a way.

      Blessings,

      Renee-Ann

  4. Thanks for the advice, Renee-Ann and congratulations on such an accomplishment! It’s all about networking, especially with authors you read and admire.
    Writing is a lot of work, non-writers often don’t appreciate that, but once you know you’re a writer, no matter how busy your life gets you can’t leave that part of you behind. It would be like leaving a healthy toe behind just because you didn’t need it that day 🙂

  5. Hi Sarah

    and thanks for the comment. You’re right, many people don’t understand what it means to write a book. Before I wrote mine, I certainly didn’t know about the many edits/critiques that would have to go into it. It’s more than I ever imagined. But I guess it’s like anything else, we can’t fully understand/appreciate something it unless we try it ourselves.

    When I wrote this post, I hadn’t yet heard the results of the contest. I have since found out that I was shortlisted. To me that was huge. What was even bigger was being told soon afterward that if there had been 2 winners, I was first runner up, wow… talk about a “feel-good” feeling.

    Now, after much debating, humming and hawing, I decided to self-publish Stella’s Plea as an e-book instead of paperback and save trees. I just need to finish the “proofreading” and it’s ready to go, thanks to a slew of people who need to be mentioned in the first few pages. 🙂

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